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  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , secret shopper,   

    The secret shopper scam returns in time for Christmas 

    The secret shopper scam returns in time for Christmas

    Another potential scam that we see return around the holidays is the secret shopper scam. While many retail outlets do have positions for secret shoppers, there are more chances of you being scammed then getting a legitimate job. The Delaware State Police are warning that the scam has appeared in their area. Considering that Delaware has no sales tax, they are a prime target for such a scam. With most secret shopper scams, the scammers will either try to get you to pay a fee to become one. Or they’ll send you a phony check to deposit in your account then use it for shopping before wiring them back the balance. These are the hallmarks of a scam.

    In other scam news, police in Richland, Washington are warning that the rental scam is occurring in their area through Facebook Marketplace. The rental scam is one of the oldest online scams there is. The scammers will post a home or apartment for rent at a below-market rate. They’ll then try to get you to rent the property without seeing it and pressure you into wiring them a deposit. If you’re looking to rent a property, always be suspicious of any of these signs.

    Lastly, in Southern California, a water department there is warning customers about a company that is claiming their water is potentially contaminated. While the news article about the claims doesn’t mention it, this could potentially be a high-pressure way of trying to get residents to buy expensive equipment for their home that they may not need. Any company can put an official-sounding prefix in their name like American or National, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out to take your money.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , secret shopper, , violence scam   

    New scam threatens your family with violence! 

    New scam threatens your family with violence!

    This scam we just recently heard of is so disturbing we don’t even have a clever name for it yet. In it, some scammers called a man from Brooklyn, New York, threatening to kill the man and his family if he didn’t pay them money. The scammers claimed to be from a criminal cartel and then sent the man explicitly violent pictures with claims of this is what would happen to his family if he didn’t pay. The man was hesitant to go to the police, however, he did contact a local community leader who was able to contact authorities. Police say that they have received other reports of this scam and that the scammers are casting wide nets trying to find victims. If you receive one of these calls you should hang up and contact police.

    Social security scams are still on the rise due to the fact that a number of senior citizens aren’t aware of the many scams that specifically target them. The Washington Post is reporting on a scam where the scammers posed as the Social Security Administration (SSA) and threatened to cut off the benefits of a woman in the early stage of Alzheimer’s. She was instructed to buy over $3,000 in gift cards from various merchants to have her benefits restored. One store even tried to warn her that this sounded like a scam. The Post article has a great checklist of things you can do to help senior relatives avoid this scam including sharing these stories every time they come up in the news. They also provide a link to the Federal Trade Commission’s website that has information about all types of impostor scams.

    The last scam for today is a reminder that most scams just don’t go away. We’ve talked about the secret shopper scam many times now. In this scam, ads will be posted hiring for secret shoppers which is a legitimate position with many retail companies. However, the con artists placing these ads online are trying to swindle you by sending you phony checks to use in your new position. They’ll tell you to deposit the checks to use in your secret shopping and send a portion of the check back. Once the bank finds out that the check is a fraud the victim who deposited the check into their bank account is responsible for the entire amount. This recently happened to a college student in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you’re considering a secret shopping position always consult with the Mystery Shopping Providers Association’s website before giving out your personal information.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Nashville, secret shopper   

    Are secret shoppers and Instagram deals for real? 

    Instagram counterfeits, secret shopping jobs, and Amazon to open Nashville hub

    If you’ve ever been approached by a street vendor to buy a ‘genuine’ Rolex watch, you’re probably already familiar with the counterfeit market. With the advance of digital technology those type of vendors have moved online and seem to be particularly prolific on Instagram. According to NBC News, Instagram is full of phony vendors selling knock-off products while claiming to be such brand names as Gucci, Chanel, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, and Dior. NBC advises you should be wary of ads that contain the word ‘replica’ or vendors that instruct you to communicate with them over encrypted messaging apps.

    ***

    Previously, we’ve warned about secret shopper scams many times. In too many cases ads for these type of jobs are scams designed to get you to deposit phony checks and wire back the difference to scammers. Once the check is found to be phony by your bank you could be on the hook for the full amount of the check. So are there real secret shopper jobs out there? Yes, according to CNBC who direct you to the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. CNBC goes on to call the MSPA the BBB of Mystery Shopping. However, you should also be aware that secret shopper jobs are better suited for supplemental income rather than as a full-time position.

    ***

    Amazon is set to open a retail operations hub in the Nashville Metro area. This has not been without controversy as Amazon has been promised a $17.5 million incentive package by the Metro Nashville Council in exchange for 5,000 jobs. This appears to be a routine tactic for Amazon as they previously pulled out of New York City after many vocal opponents of the plan objected to the incentives that the city and state were promising Amazon as they felt the funds could be better spent elsewhere. It remains to be seen if this will start to become a trend elsewhere in the country.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , secret shopper, shimming, white van scam   

    Shimming, white vans, and employment scams 

    Shimming, white vans, and employment scams

    Today, we’re bringing you three scams from around the country that may also affect you in your area.

    The first is what’s called shimming. If you’re the type that wiggles the card slots at gas pumps and ATMs to check for card skimmers, you have a new concern about your credit card. Much like skimming, in shimming the scammers place a device in the card reader that reads the new security chips on credit and debit cards instead of the magnetic strip. If you’re thinking the new chips were supposed to make cards more secure you are correct, however, the scammers were quick to crack the chip. One of the ways you can tell if a card reader you’re using has been shimmed is if the card feels too tight when put into the card reader. If so, cancel the transaction immediately.

    The second scam we have today is a scam that predates the internet but is still going on today. It’s called the white van scam and usually involves knock off or stolen electronics. Back in the pre-internet era, this scam would involve someone trying to sell you stereo components at a steep discount but now the scam usually offers discounted ‘high end’ TVs or other modern electronics. The scammers will claim that they work for a legitimate retailer or company and say that they have too much inventory and need to sell these units at a discounted price. As with most scams, they will try to pressure you hard into purchasing one of the items from their vehicle. These scammers tend to target their victims in strip mall parking lots and other locations near ATMs.

    Lastly, the secret shopper employment scam has made the news again. While many retailers do employ secret shoppers to review the work retail staff, these jobs aren’t as readily available as the internet may have you think. Recently, a woman from Greensboro, North Carolina, almost fell for this scam. The so-called secret shopper service sent her a check for thousands of dollars and asked her to use the money to buy gift cards at retailers. She was then supposed to send the gift cards back to the secret shopping service and keep some of the money for herself as payment. Of course, there are two red flags that the woman noticed and that was the fact of the scammers asking her to deposit a check and send them gift cards. Both are well-known scams as if she had deposited the phony check and spent the money she would have been responsible for the money owed to her bank. Not only that but the scammers would have received the gift cards and used the fraudulently purchased gift cards as they saw fit.

     
  • Geebo 9:58 am on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , secret shopper   

    Avoid the secret shopper scam this holiday season 

    Avoid the secret shopper scam this holiday season

    With the holiday season approaching, many people are turning to seasonal part-time jobs in order to supplement their income in order to provide a better holiday for their family. One of those positions that seems to proliferate during the holiday season is that of the secret shopper or mystery shopper. Many retail outlets hire or outsource people to go shopping at their stores who then report back how the experience was. The main problem with trying to find a secret shopper job is that it’s probably the position that is most connected with job scams.

    This scam can take the form of two other scams, either the fake job scam or the fake check scam. The fake job scam is when the so-called employer asks you for a payment up front for either background check or service materials. With the fake check scam, the scammers will sen you a fake check meant to cover your expenses. They’ll ask you to deposit the check then return whatever part of the money you don’t need. When your bank discovers the check is fake you’ll be on the hook for whatever money is used.

    Of course, you’ll find these phony positions mostly on unmoderated classifieds sites like craigslist. While this scam has been around even before the internet they seem to proliferate mostly on craigslist since they appear to do little or no research into whether or not thee jobs are legitimate. If you’re looking for one of these positions, try to stick to corporate employment websites or those of marketing firms. Always research the company as well before you apply.

     
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